McFarland Clinic

How to Know Where to Go: Accessing Health Care

Text Size
Smaller Larger

November 23, 2015

There are more options than ever when deciding where to receive health care. Knowing the options, and the differences between these options, can save you time and money.

"People are accessing the wrong care in the wrong place at the wrong time. ER visits are at an all time high, which contributes to the rising costs of health care and long wait times," says Rotert. 

This happens because people: 

  • Don’t know their options if their Primary Care Provider (PCP) is unavailable
  • Need medical care for minor illnesses and injuries outside of normal business hours
  • Do not have a PCP 

"Access is the timely use of the appropriate health care services in order to preserve or improve health," says Rhonda Rotert, MPAS, PA-C, of the McFarland Clinic Pulmonology Department. 

Access includes:

  • Adequate supply of services available 
  • Affordability, physical accessibility and offer quality services
  • Relevant and effective services to meet population's needs
  • Equity of access 
Using the appropriate health care services is about providing the right care at the right time. 
Options for Health Care at McFarland Clinic
Primary Care Office
"If you need medical care, but it is not an emergency, you should always call your primary care provider (PCP) for an appointment. A PCP's care spectrum covers, preventative health, minor illnesses, injuries, vaccinations, chronic disease management," says Rotert. They will connect you with specialists for ongoing care, if needed."
Primary Care Offices at McFarland Clinic: Adult MedicineFamily Medicine or Pediatrics 
"McFarland Express Care is convenient health care for common illnesses, brief sports and work physicals, and limited immunizations. You do not need to be an existing patient of McFarland Clinic to be seen at McFarland Express Care. We treat patients 18 months and older," says Rotert. "This service is not intended to take the place of your regular PCP."
Same-day and next-day appointments will be available for common illnesses, brief sports and work physicals, and limited immunizations. Patients are able to schedule appointments online at or by calling 515-956-4100.
McFarland Express Care will be open 7 days a week and conveniently located in Hy-Vee West Ames. Holiday hours may vary. 
After Hours Care offers same day evening and weekend appointments. McFarland Clinic After Hours is available in Ames and Marshalltown. After Hours Care provides an excellent alternative for health problems that need immediate attention but don't require a trip to the emergency room. 
Emergency Room
Emergency rooms are set up to focus on medical emergencies and not routine healthcare. They immediately treats patients who come in with major medical problems without an appointment.
Go to the emergency room or call 911 for:
  • Significant shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Stroke
  • Loss of consciousness  
  • Excessive blood loss
  • Burns
  • Car accidents
  • Broken bones
  • Allergic reactions
  • Spinal Injury
"If you are unsure of where to go, call Mary Greeley First Nurse," says Rotert. "The First Nurse Call Center is a free, confidential health information service staffed by registered nurses 24 hours a day. Individuals can call and speak to a nurse for healthcare advice, resources and referrals, a service that is especially useful when a doctor's office may not be available."
In Ames call the Mary Greeley First Nurse at 515-239-6877 or anywhere in Iowa 800-524-6877.  
Knowing the options, and the differences between these options, can save you time and money. 
For more information on the health care services available at McFarland Clinic, visit

« Back

© 2019 McFarland Clinic. All rights reserved.